February 13, 2017 4:01:35 am
MC asked for Rs 1,050 cr, got only Rs 419 cr from the UT Administration
THE MUNICIPAL Corporation’s draft budget for 2017-18 is like old wine in a new bottle.
The civic body is all set to pass the budget this month with the projects which have been appearing in the budget every year. Although the MC had planned a Rs 1,050-crore budget for 2017-18, it has got only Rs 419 crore from the UT Administration which was allocated the funds by the Centre on February 1.
This fiscal year, the MC mentions constructing an underpass at Sector 17 ISBT and Aroma light points, a project that was proposed way back in 2014. Until now, it has not seen the light of day.
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Similarly, in the fire department, building a new fire station in Sector 53, construction of residential houses at fire station in Ram Darbar and other areas are some of the issues which have been figuring in the MC budget since financial year 2013-14.
The MC also proposes to have a turntable of 61 metres, a project which was mooted in the end of 2015, but things did not materialise. Firefighting infrastructure of the MC is still on life support.
Congress city chief and former councillor Pardeep Chhabra says, “In order to befool the public, they make tall promises in the budget. It is just a copy-and-paste job that these officials have done. The majority of the projects were proposed during our time and they have included these in this year’s draft budget as well.”
Construction, upgradation of dispensaries and primary schools is a project that has found a mention in the civic body’s budget every year, ever since the two departments were transferred to the MC. But they spent the least on these two departments on the plea that MC does not have all the functions.
Recently, the MC had also written to the UT Administration either to take back both the departments or to give all the functions to them. However, they did not get any response.
Former mayor Arun Sood blames the Congress for poor execution of projects. “The fact is that the Congress government did not complete certain projects and in any case, we have an aim of completing previous projects too. Like the underpass in Sector 17 was proposed long ago but the Congress did not do anything on this. So during our tenure, we will get it constructed,” he says.
However, chairman of FOSWAC Baljinder Bittu says, “Proposing each year’s budget is just paperwork. It is a photocopy of previous budgets. A budget is a vision of the civic body but these officials don’t have any idea of what they have to do and what not. The budget should clearly mention the status of the previous projects and what new projects they intend to work on.”
He adds, “Every year, they make tall claims about sanitation, but garbage situation is deteriorating each day. They have no solution for parking even until now.”
Renovation of public toilets and their construction has been proposed almost every year since 2011-12 budget. However, the toilets continue to remain in bad shape with not many people using them.
“The public toilets are so ill-maintained that nobody wants to use them. Rather than allocating a particular budget for renovation, the MC should focus on its timely maintenance,” says Vinod, a resident of Sector 22.
For sanitation and mechanical transportation of garbage, which requires special attention, the MC proposes crores of budget.
But little is done. The issue of operation of garbage plant at Dadu Majra still hangs in the balance; they had suspended the operations. Now the MC and the firm operating the plant have mutually terminated the agreement. A UP-based company is expected to take over after March.
BJP councillor Satish Kainth admits that there is a dire need for restructuring the budget. “I agree there are certain gaps and the budget is more or less just an eyewash,” he says.
Providing basic amenities in villages and rehabilitation colonies are other two key issues which always form part of the MC budget. Even now the colonies and villages have been crying for basic amenities. Sewers flow, garbage stinks but nothing has been done.
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